Heartland bikers react to disturbing headlines out of Waco, TX - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland bikers react to disturbing headlines out of Waco, TX

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - As police in Waco, Texas, piece together the events that led to Sunday's bloody biker gang brawl, officials remain on edge.

Police say the threats have toned down over the past 24 hours, but they continue to ask for cooperation from Texas gangs gunning for revenge. 

The violence left nine dead, 18 injured and 170 arrested after so-called biker thugs clashed in Texas and the entire country took notice. 

But does the near-riot give all bikers a bad name? Heartland Harley and motorcycle enthusiasts of all kind say the Waco group represents a minimal percentage of what most bikers stand for. 

According to Heartland Bikers that ride for churches and non-profit groups and other organizations, 99 percent of the time when you see a bike, chances are the man or woman on those wheels is rolling for a peaceful cause and a mission to give back. They say we can't let what happened in Texas or anywhere give all bikers a bad name. They also acknowledge old stereotypes still exist. 

"That group in Texas, that represents about one percent of the bikers out there," said Mike LaBrier of the SEMO Harley Owner's Group. "We are all law abiding great people." 

"Those groups in Texas are never going to go away," said Frank Cruse of the Patriot Guard Riders. 

Those are just two of multiple groups that say their bikes represent a different image. 

"We love Jesus and if there's anything bad that happens it can start going around that everybody that rides a bike is bad, but that's not true," said Pastor Billy Garner.

Garner represents the Rock N Roll Church that meets at Dockside in Cape Girardeau.

He said his bike and those of his church members represent a different message of Christianity. His is painted with crosses and multiple symbols of faith.  

"My ministry is built around pulling up along the types of guys in Waco and letting then know that somebody cares about you," said Pastor Garner.  

Meanwhile The Patriot Guard Riders use their bikes to represent veterans. They've become familiar sights in many communities and patriot events to let veterans and their loved ones know they are not forgotten. 

"We are one of the most peaceful groups out there promoting groups out there," said Scott Harding, Sr. "We are like a family and we love using the bikes to connect with people and riding for freedom." 

Beyond the bikes, they say the patches on their vests symbolize respect for veterans and anyone in need.  

"We would help anybody if they needed it moments notice," said Scott Harding, Jr. 

The SEMO Harley Owners group raises money for wounded warriors, breast cancer, needy children and multiple other causes through different raffles and events.  

"We ride bikes instead of play golf," laughed Mike LaBrier. "We love our group and our communities and those we support like a family."

Bikers Against Child Abuse say they also ride to pay it forward, 

"We are just here to let then know the world is not that scary," said Scott Jarvis. "We know that kids love bikes and it's a great way to connect with them and we will do anything we can to support a child in need." 

Heartland bikers we spoke with say they hope next time you see a bike your wheels will turn a different direction, feeling that rider you see on the road is likely out to make a positive and peaceful difference. 

"They do so much more good than what you hear," said Garner. "We can't let one bad event wipe out all the good stuff."  

Groups also acknowledged that some less peaceful biker groups still exist right here in our Heartland communities, but they also feel those numbers are getting smaller all the time. 

To learn more about the Rock N Roll church, you can click here.

You can click here for more information on Bikers Against Child Abuse.

You can click here for more information on Patriot Guard Riders.

You can click here for more information on SEMO Harley Owner's Group.

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